How to Go Deeper in Your Meditations — The Complete Guide
There’s no limit to how much you can peel off
Meditation like anything else is a skill. Often people who start meditating, think that they’re not good at it.
This thought comes on account of their inability to perhaps stop their thoughts, focus on the breath, or sit for longer periods of time.
Disheartened by their progress, and therefore seeing no results, they quit soon.
That’s what we’re going to change today.
You see, the key to making any habit stick in your life is to make it pleasurable — to see results.
Think about exercise. The first few days are hard because every move is difficult. You cannot help but notice your lack of strength or stamina. But as you push through it, not only do you improve but you also see the subsequent change in your body.
This gives you a taste of what’s possible and you continue to see further changes.
Meditation is no different. And so our goal with meditation should be to start getting its benefits as soon as possible. If you start to feel inner peace and joy after your practice, you’ll look forward to it rather than run away from it.
(Note: I know meditation is not about the results and a state of being, but it’s much easier for a beginner to stay on track if he sees the potential of what’s possible *😁)*
The problem is a lot of us don’t have these experiences early on. We start because someone (like me perhaps) recommended trying meditation.
But since we’re often clueless about what’s happening, most of our time is spent resisting distractions — physical, mental, or emotional. And so we’re not able to go deep enough to get the benefits out of it.
Here are some ways you can go deeper into your practice so it becomes less uncomfortable.
A Bent Spine Is the Enemy of Spiritual Progress
The spine must always be straight for energy to flow freely from the base to the brain.
If your spine isn’t straight while meditating, you can easily fall asleep (especially if you’re sleep deprived). Further, ensure that your spine isn’t fully supported.
You can place a small cushion behind your lower back to avoid fatigue. Apart from that, keep it straight and free from support. If you’re sitting on a chair, make sure to sit more towards the edge and away from the back support.
In fact, you can test the merit of this technique right now. If you’re sitting or standing, elongate your spine. Don’t elongate so much that you can’t hold it naturally for a long time. Go as far as it’s comfortable.
How I remember to correct my posture every time:
This is a trick I recently learned from Amardeep.
Whenever you sit on a chair, push your butt to the back. My ergonomic chair works best with this tactic. The curve at the bottom gives my lower back the support it needs. At the same time, it doesn’t cover my upper back lest I fall asleep.
In any case, you’ll find greater levels of focus and energy just by shifting your posture. Why? Because the energy flows freely to your brain
When your posture and energy are aligned, the mind and spirit will follow.
To Get a Healthy Mind, Get a Healthy Stomach
The food you eat has a direct impact on your mind and body.
If you eat oily, fried, or non-vegetarian food, you’ll find it that much difficult to meditate.
The obvious reason is the time it takes to digest them. Foods like meat take a longer time to digest than others. And so all the energy that would’ve been available for meditation now goes to digestion.
An ideal diet to support meditation would include grains, green vegetables, fruits, salads, soups, etc. The criteria here is to eat light food that’s easy to digest and high in prana (life force).
Fasting is also a great spiritual aid. I’ve found I can go much deeper when all of my energy is available for meditation.
Eating non-vegetarian food is completely another matter which I won’t go into detail about. But I’ll say one thing — the more you eat animals of higher consciousness (beef, pork, etc) the more adverse effect it will have on your practice.
As a result of their higher consciousness (as compared to others like chicken or eggs), these animals know when they’re going to be butchered. And so when they’re killed, the anger, resentment, and fear is also a part of their meat that you take inside your body.
These emotions and energies again interfere with your own flow of energy that you need to go deep into meditation.
If you’ve had a heavy meal, I’d say wait for 1–2 hours before you sit for meditation. I follow this rule of thumb religiously. If you meditate early in the morning, keep your dinner light too.
I’ve also been a vegetarian since birth. Though this has caused me troubles (and made me the focus of vegan jokes by my non-veg friends), it has significantly improved my meditation practice.
Affirm Your Way to the Deeper States
According to the English American Dictionary, to “affirm” is to state that something is true. When applied to the spiritual life, an affirmation is a statement of truth which one aspires to absorb into his life (Swami Kriyananda).
Affirmations are a great way to dive deeper into meditation.
They are dynamic and practice — not wishful thinking. They work because they’re based on higher truths — truths that we’ve yet to realize consciously.
How to Make Your Own Affirmations
Here’s a list of affirmations that you can pick from. If you want to make your own affirmation for a specific use case then make sure they are positive.
Let’s say you want to overcome anger. Don’t say “I’m not angry.” This way the focus is still on anger and it may increase, rather than decrease tension. Affirm the positive quality of peace if you want to let go of anger. It can be as simple as “I am peaceful; I am complete in myself.”
Another tip is to construct one’s affirmations in the present tense.
But as a piece of general advice, I’d say to practice affirmations written by someone with high levels of spiritual realization. Or at least consult someone who has experience with this. I myself refer to Affirmations for Self-Healing, by Swami Kriyananda.
How to Practice Affirmations
I practice these affirmations in a very specific manner.
First I say them in a loud voice. The purpose is to catch your conscious mind and focus all energy on the affirmation.
Then I say it in a whisper. This is done to take the affirmation deeper into the subconscious mind.
Finally, I say it only mentally, focusing strongly on the point between the eyebrows (i.e, the spiritual eye; read more below). This helps to take the affirmation to the superconscious mind.
You can do each step twice or thrice. Make sure to really feel the words of the affirmation you’re doing. Let it dive deep inside you.
These teachings can actually change your habits and behaviors. And in fact, if your concentration and willpower are strong enough, you can do anything only by affirming it.
Focus on Your Breath
When you find yourself distracted, focus on your breath. Bring your attention to your nostrils where the breath enters and leaves your body.
Feel the sensations of heat and cold that it produces.
If you’d like, with every incoming breath, mentally chant “Hong” and with every exhalation, mentally chant “Sau.”
Hong-Sau means “I am He” or “I am Spirit.” Make no attempt to control your breathing, just let its flow be completely natural. Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds of Hong and Sau. Initially try to feel the breath at the point where it enters the nostrils.
The breath is the most natural object of focus. As you focus on the breath for long periods of time, it automatically becomes shallower and less frequent.
You’ll start to experience the stillness at the end of every inhalation and exhalation. That’s a taste of the Unmoving Spirit which is beyond manifestation and duality.
As you go deeper into this simple technique, you can even achieve breathlessness. You don’t reach this stage by holding your breath. Instead, it happens as a result of the calmness of your mind and body.
As the mind gets calmer, the waves of thoughts and emotions subside. And as the body relaxes it needs less and less oxygen to survive.
The simple technique of focusing on the breath can alone take all your stress and worries away. I do it every time I feel distracted and I find myself going deeper and deeper.
Concentrate on the Spiritual Eye
The point between the eyebrows is called the “spiritual eye” or the “third eye.” It’s also the esoteric center of concentration.
It’s the point where the prefrontal cortex of your brain lies and deals with complex thinking and happiness. By focusing here, your thoughts automatically (but gradually) become more uplifted.
This is the place of the Agya chakra in the body. By concentrating at this point, you create a certain magnetism that pulls energy towards itself. And your consciousness is directly related to where your energy is centered in the spine.
As your attention drifts away, gently bring it back. With practice, you will start to become more aware of this point even in daily life.
How to Practice This Throughout the Day
I schedule hourly alarms on my phone. When the alarm goes off, I focus on this point for a couple of minutes. I let go of any thoughts that are in my mind and direct all my attention to this point.
Almost instantly, I feel at peace and a rise of consciousness. Again, if your concentration is strong enough, you can switch from a hyper-stressed state to a super-calm one in one second!
Fix Your Meditation Time
A regular meditation time is important for obvious reasons.
The main aim is to develop the habit of taking out time at a certain hour of the day to calm your mind. Over a period of time, as you get used to it, your mind will automatically, be calmer around that time for you to have a dynamic meditation session.
I meditate every morning at around 5 am. My second session of meditation is not fixed and changes according to my schedule. Even still, the fixed hour of morning meditation itself primes my brain to let go of all worries and desires at least for that time. The result? A deeper meditation.
Fix Your Meditation Place
When you meditate at the same spot every day, you raise the vibrations of that area over time.
Whenever you come into that room (or a small section of your room), you’ll automatically signal your mind — “This is the time to meditate. All other concerns are outside this room.”
Keep in mind to always keep your space clean and tidy. I’ve found that a messy place or room is harmful for meditation.
You can find rest of my tips here which I cover in much more detail: Why and How To Create a Meditation Space in Your Home A surefire way to enhance your meditation practicemedium.com
Relaxation is the precursor to meditation. Without relaxation, you cannot meditate.
Contrary to popular thought, meditation has three stages:
Relaxation of the body and mind. Even greater than that you experience during sleep (most ignore this),
**Concentration **on a single object like the breath
Expansion to experience unity and oneness
Unfortunately, the first stage is where most people falter, including me.
Because we spend the majority of our lives in the “fight or flight mode”.
This stress builds up in the background and hinders our performance. It affects your work as well as your meditations. It’s like background apps running on your OS that hamper other processes.
Here are some ways to relax before meditation:
Even-Count Breathing: Inhale, hold and exhale the breath for the same count. Once you exhale, inhale again immediately.
Detach Yourself From the Results
This point is perhaps the most counterintuitive of all. When we start meditating, we often expect the benefits and rewards to accrue soon.
The need for instant gratification is deep within us. But meditation does not work that way.
You can pray, chant, and meditate all you want but if you run after the results, it will only create anxiety. Anxiety will thus make you restless and you’ll not be able to meditate in the first place.
So mentally detach yourself from the results of your practice. Practice your meditation with an attitude of surrender and self-offering.
When most people sit for meditation, they go with the attitude of wanting something. In fact, you need to surrender for the Divine to intervene and take it from there.
Your actions are the only thing you can control. Why worry about your results which you have no control over and hurt your own practice?
This is closely linked with the previous point. To be patient with your practice is to consider it as a marathon and not a race.
You will not find God or achieve enlightenment in a short span of time. And even to experience a noticeable shift in your behaviors, it can take months.
Have an Urgency to Find God
This is a point, I admit, that may not appeal to everyone. But I’d be lying to myself if I don’t mention it here.
The goal of life, in my opinion, is to find God. This is why I meditate, pray, and do my spiritual practices. The aim is to expand our consciousness into the Cosmic Consciousness to realize the oneness with all that is.
Every other benefit of meditation is just a sweetmeat that God gives to motivate us. As you go deeper and deeper into your practice, the world becomes a better place, colors become brighter, sounds become more intense.
But even after all these worldly pleasures, the soul knows that there’s much more happiness it can get when it merges itself with God.
And that’s the attitude, I’ve found helpful to take in my meditation.
Think about the moment of death. What if you die today, tomorrow, or the month after? At that moment you’ll realize that all the things you chased throughout life were in fact meaningless. That there’s but one Reality.
Take that mindset in your meditation. Because death will come at your door someday and you don’t want to waste this life by not making spiritual progress.
When you meditate, cling to the thought that God is the only reality. He is the only Eternal Existence. Everything else in this universe is unreal, and evanescent part of the great magic veil that clouds Reality.
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